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The Art & Life of Amrita Sher-Gil

From the Amazing Women series, volume 3

by Meera Sriram ; illustrated by Ruchi Bakshi Sharma

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-7342259-4-5
Publisher: Penny Candy

Born to a Hungarian mother and an Indian father, Amrita Sher-Gil spent her early childhood in her mother’s homeland, creating fanciful art inspired by the world around her.

When she was 8, the family moved to India, where her art matured considerably. Noticing her talent, her family insisted that she take formal lessons to hone her craft. At first, Amrita obliged, but soon she chafed against the restrictions and the structure, preferring to rely instead on her own instincts and imagination. Following her own path, Amrita created art that blended Eastern and Western traditions and that celebrated womanhood. Eventually, her family returned to Europe specifically so Amrita could study art in Paris. Although she learned a great deal, after a few years, Amrita found Europe stifling, and she returned to India. There, her practice blossomed as she pioneered new visual traditions, pushing the boundaries of the Western-centric artistic world. Unfortunately, her genius was cut short by her untimely death at the age of 28. This lyrical picture-book biography not only celebrates Sher-Gil’s rebellious brilliance, it also frankly examines the challenges and opportunities presented by having a mixed heritage. While much of Sher-Gil’s life and work involved highly adult themes, this book addresses these issues in a child-friendly manner without hiding the truth. The innovative illustrations include more than a few touches of surrealism to evoke the inner life of the artist and present at least one topless female figure, reflecting Sher-Gil’s style.

A lyrical picture-book introduction to the life of a feminist artistic genius.

(biographical note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-11)